Smoking suppresses the innate immune system [Digital]
The epithelium of the respiratory tract provides direct contact between the circulating blood and the inhaled air. The epithelium of the respiratory tract is part of the innate immune system and, together with soluble factors, forms an effective protection against colonization by pathogenic microorganisms. Extrinsic factors such as environmental pollution and cigarette smoke, or intrinsic factors such as allergic inflammation can weaken the function of the innate immune system and thus contribute to disease. Smokers have a higher percentage of lung infections, and cigarette smoke is a major risk factor for developing COPD. The mechanisms underlying this increased susceptibility are largely unclear. The aim of this work is to characterize the influence of cigarette smoke on the innate immune system of the lungs in the context of a bacterial infection.